PHIL WOODTHORPE'S

RHYTHM & BLUES REVUE

Phil Woodthorpe is BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Blues presenter, his Rhythm & Blues News & Diary is broadcast at 6.30pm on the first Wednesday of every month on BBC Radio Lincolnshire 94.9FM


Phil's Top Ten Blues Albums ~ 2002


Phil's Top Ten Albums ~ 2001


Phil's Blues Playlist ~ 2001


Phil's Top Ten Albums ~ 2000


Blues in the Year 2000


Blues Playlist 2000


View Blues In The 90's


View Phil's Top 30 Blues Albums of The 90's


View Phil's Top 10 Blues Albums of 1999


PHIL WOODTHORPE'S BLUES TOP TEN ~ 2002

Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me - Fat Possum

W.C. Clark - From Austin With Soul - Alligator

Shemekia Copeland - Talking To Strangers - Alligator

Guy Davis - Give In Kind - Red House Records

Larry Johnson - 2 Gun Green - Armadillo

Connie Lush - Unfaithfully Yours - Blue Rhythm

Delbert McClinton - Room To Breathe - New West

Mighty Mo Rodgers - Red White & Blues - Universal

Daniel Smith - Dreamtime - Pinetop

Jody Williams - Return Of A Legend - Evidence


Phil Woodthorpe's Blues Top 10 2001

Marcia Ball - Presumed Innocent - Alligator

Cracking release by singer pianist Marcia who has a great rockin' Texas/Louisana R&B sound

Eric Bibb - Painting Signs - Manhaton

A British made recording by Eric who along with Keb Mo is the best and most original of the modern day acoustic blues performers

Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown-Back To Bogalusa-BlueThumb

Great Louisana feel to this album by the veteran bluesman who is so versatile he can play any blues style with ease

Deborah Coleman - Livin' On Love - Blind Pig

One of the stars of this years Great British R&B festival Deborah is a talented singer guitarist and songwriter on this dynamite release

Shemekia Copeland - Wicked

Blues album of the year in the American WC Handyawards, Shemekia is a powerhouse young blues vocalist and this album is full of hard stompin' rocking songs

John Hammond - Wicked Grin - Pointblank

Masterful country blues versions of some great Tom Waits songs

Big Bill Morganfield - Ramblin'Mind - Blind Pig

Muddy Waters son is a marvellous modern day Chicago bluesman with powerful rhythms and great vocals piano and harmonica

Kid Ramos - Greasy Kid Stuff - Evidence

Kid follows last year's great 'West Coast House Party' album with an even better sax fired album featuring various star guests on vocals/harmonica

Johnny Rawls - Put Your Trust In Me - JSP

Lovely classy understated soul blues album with excellent songs

Todd Sharpeville - The Meaning Of Life - Cathouse

The best british blues album for a long time features guitarist Todd's own songs and various guest vocalists giving a great fifties West Coast sound


Phil Woodthorpe's Blues Playlist ~ 2001

January

Odetta - Blues Everywhere I Go - Blues Everywhere I Go - MC Records

Snooky Pryor/Mel Brown - Early In The Morning - Double Shot - Electro-Fi

Kent DuChaine - Aberdeen Mississippi Blues - Live At 'Les Loufiats' - Cadillac

February

Koko Taylor - Keep Your Mouth Shut And Your Eyes Wide Open - Royal Blue - Alligator

Mighty Mo Rodgers - The Kennedy Song - Blues Is My Wailin Wall - Blue Thumb

Bob Pearce - 14 - Why Am I Hollerin'? - Fuzzy Pig

March

Stan Webb - She loves You - Webb - Indigo

Percy Strother - Don't let Your So Called Friends Come between You And Me - It's My Time - JSP

April

Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges - If You Don't Wanna Love Me - Born To Be Blue - Blueside

The Nightporters - Just Keep loving Her - Rollercoaster - Indigo

Harmonica Shah - Mellow Down Easy - Deep Detroit - Bluetrack

May

Big Jack Johnson - Jump For Joy - Roots Stew - M.C. Records

Eric Bibb - Mandela Is Free - Home To Me - Hatman

Bluesmove - Dangerous Mood - First Cut

June

Shemekia Copeland - It's 2 A.M. - Wicked - Alligator

Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings - Rollin and Stumblin - Double Bill

Lightnin Willie and the Poorboys - Calling Out to Muddy - Lucky AS The Devil -Bluetrack

July

Jimmy Smith - Three O'Clock Blues - dot com blues - Blue Thumb Records

Nina Simone - Don't let Me Be Misunderstood - Finest Hour - Verve

Terry Evans - Honey Boy - Blues For Thought - Pointblank

August

Angela Brown - A Man Size Job - Thinking out Loud - Blueside

Deborah Coleman - My Heart Bleeds Blue - I Can't Lose - Blind Pig

Witham Delta Boys - Guitar Rag - Crossing The Tracks

September

Curtis Stigers - Van Said (Sha La La) - Brighter Days - Curb

Paul Lamb & The King Snakes - Take Your Time & Get It Right - Indigo

Taj Mahal - Queen Bee - Very Best Of - Global

October

Walter Trout - Outta Control - Go The Distance - Ruf

Bill Thomas - Vero - Ain't halfsteppin - Bluetrack

Peter Green Splinter Group - Lies - Time Traders - Eagle

December

Out Of The Blue - The Truth Is Sought By A Liar - Shadowplay - Armadillo

Emily Druce - Tell me So - The Guilt Trip - Roly

Amor - 24 Hours -Amor - Manhaton


PHIL WOODTHORPE'S

BLUES TOP TEN ~ 2000

Guy Davis - Butt Naked Free - Red House

A gorgeous collection of songs written by Guy and performed by him in either acoustic blues style or with a rootsy sensitive band.

Corey Harris / Henry Butler - Vu-Du Menz - Alligator

An inspired combination of Corey's acoustic guitar blues and the New Orleans piano of Henry produces a real original blues potion.

Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers - Roots Stew - M.C. Records

Big Jack explores his musical roots playing a diverse range of wonderful blues

numbers using the mandolin with lap steel hawaiian and electric guitars.

Odetta - Blues Everywhere I Go - M.C. Records

With a long pedigree in the blues Odetta takes the classic songs of Bessie Smith Memphis Minnie and others and makes them her own. A tremendous vocal performance and a great band playing traditional blues.

Wilson Pickett - It's Harder Now - Bullseye

Winner of the W.C. Handy awards for both comeback and soul blues album of the year.Wilson is in fine soulful voice and is backed by a band packing a real Southern Soul punch.

Snooky Pryor / Mel Brown - Double Shot - Electro-Fi

Snooky is a giant of the blues and his harmonica playing teamed with Mel Brown's guitar playing makes for powerful authentic 50's style Chicago blues.

Mighty Mo Rodgers - Blues Is My Wailin Wall - GRP Records

A stunning debut and a unique blues album. Mo performs his own highly original songs in a range of blues styles from piano harp boogie to soul.

Magic Slim & The Teardrops - Snakebite - Blind Pig

Slim's tough raunchy guitar and his sandpapered vocals power through a glorious set of rocking Chicago blues recorded with his 4 piece road band.

Jon T-Bone Taylors Bop Brothers - And Sisters - Abacabe

The best UK album released this year featuring the cream of UK blues vocalists Earl Green, Connie Lush, Ruby Turner,Taka Boom together with Deitra Farr and famed saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith.

Irma Thomas - My Heart's In Memphis - Rounder

The Queen of New Orleans is the best 60's style soul singer currently recording and Dan Penn is the all-time best soul songwriter.Together they make a wonderful classy album

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Blues in the Year 2000

The first year of the new millenium was a excellent one for blues music.The standard of new blues recordings was as high as it has ever been and the number and quality of re-issues continued with the Ace and Indigo labels leading the field with some great releases.In addition there was a superb range of live gigs both locally and nationally particularly via the three major blues festivals at Burnley(Easter),Bishopstock(Whitsun) and Colne(August Bank holiday).

On a personal level three performances stand out for me in 2000:

Mighty Sam McClain at Burnley(April)

James Hunter at the Woodman,Louth(July)

Sherman Robertson + Corey Harris and Henry Butler at the Old Vic,Nottingham(October).

My top ten of new blues recordings was dominated as usual by American blues musicians who I recommend you check out largely for the sheer power of feeling and authenticity of the music. There were however a number of excellent releases by UK artists who lets face it we are more likely to see perform live at local venues.The UK releases that I particularly rated were:

Jon T-Bone Taylor's Bop Brothers - and Sisters

Eugene 'Hideaway Bridges - Man without a Home

Paul Lamb and the King Snakes - Take Your Time and Get It Right

Sonny Black and the Dukes - Heart and Soul

Dave Peabody and Brendon Power - Two Trains Running.

As far as I am aware the first two have yet to appear at a venue locally. ~ Maybe in 2001?

(Fizgig footnote - John T-Bone Taylor appeared at Spalding Blues Club with The Daniel Smith Band in Oct 2000 - but hasn't to our knowledge appeared with The Bop Brothers in Lincolnshire - Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges was the special guest support act for The Blues Band at Grimsby Auditorium in 1999 for their Blues Band Convention)

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As well as the my Top Ten for 2000 and the UK releases above I also commend to you the following re-issues:

1949 - The R&B Hits(2CD) - Indigo

Essential Country Girls - Little Rock Blues - Indigo

Mighty Sam McClain - Soul Survivor The Best Of - Audioquest

Chicago - The Blues Today(3CD) - Vanguard

BB King - The Best of the Kent Singles - Kent

Clay Hammond and ZZ Hill - Southern Soul Brothers - Kent

Roy Hawkins - The Thrill Is Gone - Ace

Great R&B Duets - Ace

Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures - Ace

Keep listening to BBC Radio Lincs Blues programme at 6.30 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. For those who have not yet caught up with the show I am attaching a list of tracks played in 2000.

Finally my best wishes for a happy and successful 2001 go to all blues fans,musicians and particularly promoters who run blues clubs and venues around our area.

Phil Woodthorpe

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Blues Playlist ~ 2000

January

Walter Harpman Band - I Feel So Good - Feel So Good - 2 Get her Records

Lazy Lester - I Need Money - All Over You - Antones

February

Mighty Sam McClain - Sledgehammer Soul & Down Home Blues - AudioQuest

Dana Dixon Band - Don't Make My Business Yours - Boogie Woman - DDBB

March

Gwyn Ashton - Ain't got time for that stuff - Feel the Heat - Riverside

Paul Lamb & The King Snakes - The Best I Can - The Blue Album - Indigo

May

Bob Hall - I Don't Play Boogie - Don't Play Boogie - Indigo

Peter Green - I'm A Steady Rollin' Man - Hot Foot Powder - Snapper Music

Taj Mahal - Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes - Phantom Blues - BMG

June

Wilson Pickett - Outskirts Of Town - It's Harder Now - Bullseye

Michael Roach - San Francisco Bay Blues - Ain't Got me No Home - Stella

Dave Peabody & Brendan Power - Ride Ride Mama - Two Trains Running - Indigo

July

James Hunter - Turn On Your Love Light - Believe What I Say - Ace

Otis Grand - Lonely Man - Live Anthology - Mystic Records

Corey Harris - Song of the Pipelayer - VU-Du Menz

August

Son Seals - Adding Up - Nothing But The Truth - Alligator

John Jackson - Going Down To Georgia On A Horn

- Don't Let Your Deal Go Down - Arhoolie

Joe louis Walker - It's You Baby - Silvertone Blues - Verve

September

Otis Grand - Just One More Time - Perfume and Grime - Sequel

Johnny Whitehill - I'm Tired - Guitar Slinger - Indigo

The Barcodes - Barcodes theme - Keep Your Distance - BM

BB King - Whatever happened to me - The Best Of the Kent Singles 1958-71 - Ace

October

Sherman Robertson - I'll Cry When Its Over - Here and Now - Code Blue

Otis Rush - It's A Mean Old World - Chicago The Blues Today - Vanguard

Paul Lamb & The King Snakes - Looking Back - Take Your Time & Get It Right - Indigo

November

Taj Mahal - Cheatin On You - Very Best Of Taj Mahal - Global

Frank Carline - Going So Good - One World - Resofone

Simon Honeyboy Hickling - Wonderful Night - Blue It - Bridge

Rory Block - Kassie Jones - Confessions of a Blues Singer - Rounder

December

Jonathan Kalb - Hamburg Rain - Shadow of a Man - Saloon Recordings

Ray Charles - Drown In My Own Tears - Birth of Soul Vol 2 - Atlantic

James Hunter - Kick It Around - Kick It Around - Ruf

Witham Delta Boys - Midnight Train - Crossing

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BLUES IN THE 1990s

My Top 30 list of the best new blues recordings of the 1990s clearly demonstrates that this wonderful music which probably started life in the first decade of the 20th century ( the first blues recordings were in the 1920s ) was still in an excellent state in the last decade.

The list comprises entirely new recordings but the last decade has seen a vast number of CD re-issues.At the start of the decade many of us were still buying LPs but this all changed in the 1990s resulting in some marvellous re-isssues of classic blues recordings.This has included all the major pre-war acoustic blues recordings on the Document and Yazoo labels, the wonderful Chess label recordings of 1950s Chicago blues and the Stax label sounds which dominated the 1960s.The Ace label has established itself as the number one re-issue label in this country and its release of the Excello label Lousiana recordings from the 1950s and 60s provided the best example of their work.

The list demonstrates that the standard of new blues recordings was as high as in the classic eras of the blues and several older artists on the list made their best ever albums in the 1990s.I make no apologies for the dominance in the list of black American blues musicians.It is not surprising that since blues music was traditionally the musical expression of black Americans it generally still sounds more powerful and authentic.Nevertheless the standard of British blues is higher than ever and the best British bands such as Otis Grand,Paul Lamb, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, Ruby Turner, Connie Lush and The Hoax can rival the American stars.However with the exception of Otis Grand (who recorded Perfume and Grime and other albums in America) the standard of recordings by British bands has not matched their live performances.

In this country the amount and standard of live blues music has been better in the 1990s than any previous decade although there has been a mixture of success and failure.The establishment of major blues festivals notably in Lancashire at Burnley and the Great British Rhythm and Blues festival at Colne has been a real success and we have been able to see many American artists not seen before in the country.Latterly the Bishopstock blues festival has provided an incredible line-up of blues stars over the May Bank holiday weekend.Locally some venues for blues music have endured whilst others have been tried and not received the support they deserved.The foremost success has been at the Spalding Blues Club which attracts sell out audiences and is able to book top flight British bands.We should also be grateful for Spilsby Theatre in attracting visiting Americans and this has proved itself to be an excellent venue for acoustic blues.I must say that I am full of admiration for the promoters musicians and other enthusiasts who continue to fly the flag for blues music in the area.

On a personal level I travelled widely in the 1990s in search of live blues music and achieved a lifetime ambition to follow a blues trail from Memphis through Mississippi to New Orleans.This culminated in a visit to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival which is attended by many blues and soul stars.By regularly visiting festivals in this country and occasionally in Europe I have managed to see most of my blues heroes live over the last decade and certainly almost all of those in my Top 30.It was fitting that the last gig I attended in the 1990s was the re-united Walter Harpman Band - without doubt the area's best blues band throughout the 1990s.

Unfortunately it is back to square one as far as my blues slot on BBC Radio Lincolnshire is concerned.I started the slot in 1992 with a 15 minute gig guide playing a couple of tracks and ended the decade with 10 minutes doing the same.By the mid 1990s I had built up to a 45 minute monthly blues review with live interviews and also presented a weekly one hour 'Saturday night Rhythm and Blues' programme.The decline of specialist music on local radio since then is a real cause for concern but it will only be restored by public demand which the BBC does not believe exists at present.

Finally it is sad that several of those included in my Top 30 have since departed this world.It seems amazing that these artists can record such powerful music just a relatively short time before their death.All I can say is that there must be one hell of gig taking place in Blues Heaven!

So RIP - Johnny Adams,Luther Allison,Charles Brown,William Clarke,Albert Collins,Johnny Copeland,Championn Jack Dupree,Jimmy Rogers,Katie Webster,Junior Wells.

Despite the sadness of this list I have no doubt that blues music will endure and give pleasure throughout the 21st century.

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PHIL WOODTHORPE'S

TOP 30

BLUES ALBUMS

OF THE

1990s

Johnny Adams - Man Of My Word - Rounder

Luther Allison - Bad Love - Ruf

Carey Bell - Good Luck Man - Alligator

Charles Brown - Just A Lucky So And So - Bullseye

Little Buster - Right On Time - Bullseye

W.C. Clark - Lover's Plea - Black Top

William Clarke - Hard Way - Alligator

Albert Collins - Collins Mix - Pointblank

Johnny Copeland - Catch Up With The Blues - Verve

James Cotton - Deep In The Blues - Verve

Robert Cray - Shame and a Sin - Mercury

Champion Jack Dupree - One Last Time - Bullseye

Snooks Eaglin - Teasin You - Black Top

Deitra Farr - The Search Is Over - JSP

Larry Garner - You Need To Live A Little - Verve

Otis Grand - Perfume and Grime - Sequel

Buddy Guy - Damn Right I Got The Blues - Silvertone

Michael Hill's Blues Mob - New York State Of The Blues

Holmes Brothers - Soul Street - Rounder

John Lee Hooker - The Healer - Silvertone

B.B. King - Blues On The Bayou - MCA

Keb Mo - Keb Mo - Okeh

Snooky Pryor - Too Cool To Move - Antones

Jimmy Rogers - Ludella - Antones

Otis Rush - Ain't Enough Comin In - This Way Up

Percy Sledge - Blue Night - Virgin

Joe Louis Walker - JLW - Verve

Robert Ward - Fear No Evil - Silvertone

Katie Webster - Deluxe Edition - Alligator

Junior Wells - Come On In This House - Telarc

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This list breaks down into the following styles of blues music:

*

Harmonica/Chicago Blues

Carey Bell, William Clarke, Snooky Pryor, Jimmy Rogers, Junior Wells

*

Traditional/Acoustic Blues

James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, Keb Mo

*

Piano Blues

Charles Brown, Champion Jack Dupree, Katie Webster

*

Guitar Blues

Luther Allison, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Otis Grand, Buddy Guy, Michael Hill,

B.B. King, Otis Rush, Joe Louis Walker

*

Louisiana Blues

Snooks Eaglin, Larry Garner

*

Soul Blues

Johnny Adams, Little Buster, W.C. Clark, Johnny Copeland, Deita Farr,

Holmes Brothers, Percy Sledge, Robert Ward

*

Phil Woodthorpe

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Phil Woodthorpe's Top 10 ~ 1999

(in alphabetical order)

Angela Brown - Thinking Out Loud - Blueside

Captures Angela's great live performances as she rocks swings and bellows her

way through a great set of blues

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Robert Cray - Take Your Shoes Off - Rykodisc

His best album since Shame & Sin, and more in the style of his best selling albums

of the 80s with strong songs and his soulful voice, outstanding

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John Jackson - Front Porch Blues - Alligator

Simply the finest living acoustic bluesman still playing today with wonderful

Piedmont style blues

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B B King - Blues On The Bayou - MCA

Rootsy good time feel to the King of the blues, best album in years recorded with

his live band

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Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes - The Blue Album - Indigo

The best album made by this popular band perfectly showcases Paul's

harmonica playing & Johnny Whitehill's tasteful guitar

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Lazy Lester - All Over You - Antones

Former Excello label star this is Lester's first album in 10 years a brilliant slab of

harmonica swamp blues

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Robert Lockwood - I Got To Find Me A Woman - Verve

True legend of the blues with a real authentic slice of blues which won him the

WC Handy award for traditional blues album of the year

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Kelly Joe Phelps - Shine Eyed Mister Zen - Rykodisc

Highly original solo bluesman with totally unique sound - deep mysterious

compelling

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Otis Rush - Any Place I'm Going

Stunning guitar & vocals from Otis who is at the peak of his powers, this truly sums up

the very best of blues

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Michelle Wilson - Tryin To Make A Little Love - Bullseye

One of the best modern blues vocalists on a swing based but very varied album

which fully captures her talents

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Thanks to BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Blues presenter Phil Woodthorpe, for submitting these articles for use on the Fizgig website.

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Email your Blues news to Phil

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